Parliamentary secretary’s statement on Emancipation Day

VICTORIA – Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, has released the following statement in acknowledgment of Emancipation Day:

“Even though slavery in Canada was abolished 185 years ago, many Black and Indigenous people still experience intergenerational trauma, racism and discrimination rooted in the system of free slave labour that Canada benefited from for far too long. Of the estimated 4,200 people enslaved, about two-thirds were Indigenous and one-third were Black.”

“Emancipation Day is a time to remember our collective history and celebrate the strengths and perseverance of these communities in Canada.”

“In 1833, the British Empire enacted the Slavery Abolition Act throughout its colonies, but under this new legislation, only enslaved people under the age of six were freed. Anyone older was ‘redesignated’ as an apprentice and required to work without pay for four to six years as part of compensation to their former owners. Full emancipation of all enslaved people in Canada was not achieved until Aug. 1, 1838.”

“While the end of slavery in Canada and most of the British colonies was a turning point in history, the harm caused continues to reverberate through the generations. Many Indigenous and racialized people report experiencing incidents of racism or hate crimes. These racialized groups also continue to face systemic barriers in accessing services, housing, employment and justice.”

“One way government is tackling systemic racism is through legislation. Introduced in 2022, the Anti-Racism Data Act makes it possible to collect race-based data to help identify gaps and barriers to accessing government programs and services. The next step is to build on this historic act by introducing broader anti-racism legislation in 2024, which will require the provincial government to address systemic racism within its policies, programs and services, and to provide supports to those who have been negatively affected. All British Columbians are invited to participate in an online questionnaire, open until Sept. 30, 2023, that will help inform this new legislation.”

“In addition to the new legislation, the information collected will help shape the framework for an anti-Black racism strategy that is part of the ministry’s mandate.”

“Today, I invite British Columbians to reflect and engage in the fight against racism and discrimination. By acknowledging our past, we can build an anti-racist future when all British Columbians will thrive.”


Learn more


Ministry of Attorney General
Media Relations
250 893-7081

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The statement could also be found on BC Gov News

The cover photo is from flickr


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